The Wichita Force kept its hot streak going, rallying in the fourth quarter to edge the Bloomington Edge 51-48 at Intrust Bank Arena on Friday night. The Force improved to 4-0 on the season with the victory and maintained first place in the Champions Indoor Football League North Division.
“It feels good, a victory is always a victory, no matter how pretty or ugly it may be,” Force coach Paco Martinez said. “All that matters is we’re 4-0 at the end of the day.”
Maize product and former Butler Community College star Brett Soft had just two catches on the night, but both came in the clutch. With the Force trailing 42-41 midway through the fourth quarter, Soft’s first catch was a 19-yard reception to the 4-yard line. On very next play, Force quarterback Stephen Panasuk fired a pass to the back of the end zone to a wide-open Soft for a 48-42 Force lead with 8:58 left in the game.
“H (Soft) is just one of those guys that’s going to do whatever,” Martinez said. “He jumped in at linebacker there at the end when we needed him ... he’s a special player.”
The Edge turned the ball over on downs on the next possession when they came up short at the Force’s 19-yard line thanks to a pass deflection from veteran defensive back Kendrick Harper.
“He’s a captain for a reason,” Martinez said. “He’s a veteran guy that knows what’s going on on the field, he wasn’t having any of it when they tried to fool him there.”
Force kicker Connor Frazell’s 38-yard field goal extended the lead to 51-42.
“Connor is a great kicker,” Martinez said. “We told him early on that he’s going to make a kick to win a game and tonight was that night.”
Panasuk finished the game 12-for-21 passing for 174 yards and six touchdowns and just one interception. Clarence Anderson led the Force with six catches for 74 yards and two touchdowns.
7 21 7 13
7 27 7 10
B — Ficklin 2 run (Larson kick)
W — Wright 6 run (Frazell kick)
B — Pahos 19 pass from Holbrook (Larson kick)
W — Kelley 29 pass from Panasuk (Frazell kick)
W — Anderson 16 pass from Panasuk (Frazell kick)
W — Bell 15 pass from Panasuk (kick failed)
B — Dunn 7 run (Larson kick)
B — Golson 20 fumble recovery (Larson kick)
W — Anderson 7 pass from Panasuk (Frazell kick)
W — Bell 30 pass form Panasuk (Frazell kick)
B — Harris 29 pass from Holbrook (Larson kick)
B — Ficklin 1 run (Larson kick)
W — Soft 4 pass from Panasuk (Frazell kick)
W — Frazell 38 field goal
B — Dunn 1 run (kick failed)
Rushing — Bloomington, Holbrook 12-53, Dunn 11-19, Clark 1-6, Ficklin 3-4, Revere 1-0; Wichita, Wright 14-38, Panasuk 5-10, Bell 1-9, Anderson 1-1.
Passing — Bloomington, Holbrook 14-31-170-0; Wichita, Panasuk 12-21-174-1.
Receiving — Bloomington, Harris 7-94, Pahos 2-36, Clark 2-20, Dunn 2-11, Newbern 1-9; Wichita, Anderson 6-74, Bell 2-45, Soft 2-23, Kelley 1-29, Wright 1-3.